tv The Last Word MSNBC November 11, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EST
>> there had to be a fireball. that's the only thing we could all agree on. tomorrow night, 9:00 p.m. eastern, we're very excited for that interview and tomorrow's show. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. rachel, we're all going to be watching tomorrow night. >> thanks, i appreciate it. >> listen to this, we have harpooned every whale in the ocean and some of the minnows. panel to solve america's debt problem now respond.
>> this is debt is like a cancer that will truly destroy this country. >> it is the co chairman's draft. it is not the commission's draft. chairman draws blood from both sides. >> nobody i think likes everything in it or dislikes everything in it. >> that they would eliminate all deductions, individual rates would reset to a new low. >> it would eliminate some tax breaks. >> and on spending, cuts to everything. >> to save over $3.8 trillion over the next ten years. >> on the table both domestic and defense spending. farm subsidies to foreign aide. it's comprehensive tax reform. >> including social security. >> proposal to raise the retirement age. >> the purpose is for them to chew on this.
>> the tough debate begins. >> there are two nonstarters for me, and that is social security and medicare cuts. >> conservatives are going to argue you don't cut a nickel out of military. >> who should be making the decisions. >> in february, president obama created the bipartisan national commission on fiscal responsibility to address the country's nearly $13.8 trillion debt and come up with a way to balance the budget by 2015. today the co chairman of that commission, democrat and former clinton white house chief of staff erskine bowles and alan simpson released their budget draft proposal. raising the social security retirement age. cuts to all discretionary spending, including defense. reforming the tax code to lower the tax rates for all americans, but ending all tax deductions.
yes, you heard that correctly. they want to end all tax deductions. that means ripping thousands of pages out of the tax code and throwing them away. but first, 14 of the 18 commissioners most of whom are members of congress must come up with a final report that they agree on by december 1st. today's first draft has already been attacked by nancy pelosi which leaves all of washington wondering the commission can get 14 votes for any version of this. and if this means pelosi will break her written promise to president obama to bring the commission's plan to a vote in the house. joining me now a member of that commission, representative jan schakowsky and dan radhigan. there are things in this plan you don't like.
there are things people like. what do you like in this plan? >> first of all, let's be clear this is a proposal only of the two co chairs. this is not a proposal put forth in anyway by the commission. some of us just saw it. there are a number of cuts in the defense budget that fortunately i believe we have bipartisan support for making significant cuts in the defense budget. and at the very least, i think those are the kinds of things that we may be able to move forward with together. but overall, i think that the certainly when it comes to social security and medicare. >> what about the increase in the gasoline tax. do you think that's a good idea? >> well, we are -- there's a proposal that we do something to offset the pain that it would cost some lower income people. but i think that that is something we might consider for
the environment as well as for raising revenue. >> dillon, congresswoman schakowsky says you can talk about doing all the deficit reduction you want, just don't even think about touching medicare? the last time the democrats initiated deficit reduction was under president bill clinton. where he did one of the biggest medicare cuts that they've ever done at that point in time. initiated by a democratic president. and executed by a democratic house and senate. what has changed since then? >> well, the only thing that's changed is that we are the equivalent of a wild spending teenager, who continues to accumulate new credit cards without having much of the money in general. now, the truth of the matter is,and i know that you know this, lawrence, as well asty do, the amount of money that this country owes relative to the amount of money it has, and i'm talking not just about this deficit commission.
i'm talking about the $60 trillion in liabilities that are embedded in medicare, medicaid. that we are at an incredibly precarious position as the world is right now in dealing with this, and i think before we get -- we can slice it, medicare, medicare, defense, social security. you're going to have to do all of it. the most important thing, and the reason it's so significant is because it's an opportunity to begin a real conversation, which has many variables, which you know better than most. and i think that the two party system and the default political con construct of don't touch this issue, don't touch this issue, which was perhaps politically viable for the past 20 years will be a direct barrier to what we need to do. whether it is social security or anything else, i mean, do you think i'm wrong about that? >> i certainly think you are, because we've had a big discussion about medicare, it's not as if we haven't had a year long conversation about health care costs. now that seniors today are paying out of pocket about what they did when medicare was first initiated, about 30% of their
income is going to health care, to now say that we ought to increase the co payments, the out of pocket costs that seniors pay, when we're just at the very beginning of some very important changes we've made to the -- to medicare and medicaid. as far as social security is concerned, this is a proposal that if someone making $43,000 today retires at age 65 will see a 22% reduction in their benefits. one other point. this proposal that they made does not just affect future beneficiaries, but by cutting the cost of living adjustment, we are going to affect current beneficiaries, something that was promised would not happen. >> yeah. >> people feel an ownership of social security. we made a promise to them, and to cut those benefits, so drastically, i think is reneging on that promise. >> you know that bill clinton proposed taxing social security benefits in 1993, and that was,
in fact, legislated by democrats in the con. we shouldn't be pretending that democrats have never touched social security. >> i completely appreciate everything you're saying, and i'm quite certain that it represents a very understandable and widespread view of this, and not that i -- not that it's necessarily right or wrong, but it doesn't accept the fact that we owe $0 trillion liability set. we have a cap on social security where we stop collecting at $106,000 that we don't have a means test. people live longer. and i'm not -- i am not pushing to go after social security many i'll do this with you on defense, we can go through any of these things which are incredibly inefficient and/or outdated systems that are in need of meaningful efficiency updates and accommodation to reality, which,you know what,
rich people may not be able to collect social security in this country. and you know what, not collecting social security for people who make over $100,000 may have to happen. the life expectancy is now 20 years longer, 10 years longer than it was when these programs began. these are valid points, no? >> i want to say something about the longevity. for women, longevity has gone down in recent years. for poor people, they aren't living longer. this idea of a janitor having to make less social security in order for a lawyer who's going to live longer, no, i don't think that is fair or necessary to do that. >> but it -- >> congresswoman schakowsky, i think president obama said when he started this, he called it taking on the impossible. i think it really was literally impossible because of that five year window they said all this has to be accomplished within five years. that's the central problem in what we're looking at. it is draconian, it is shocking
when you look at what these changes are. because they're trying to right all the wrongs in five years. i think the realistic discussion begins with a ten-year window and maybe even is larger than that. what is true about this politically for democrats and republicans, is that there will never be a balanced budget or a serious deficit reduction proposal brought to the floor of the house or the senate that does not include things in it that you don't like. and you are going to be asked to vote on a package as democrats did in 1993 that included things that democrats don't like. is there anyway you will at any point within any one of these budget windows we chose, be willing to take a tough vote on something you wish was not in the package but is necessary in order to create a package that gets enough votes from both sides of the aisle? >> of course, the health care bill that passed is not the bill that i would have written.
i certainly would have had a public option. and by the way, in order to control health care costs. including a public option which would save $168 billion, yes, i think that would be a good idea. yes, i'm willing to look at it, but look, lawrence, this is not just about bean counting. this is what is going to be good for the majority of the people in our country, get our economy going. be fair to those who have not benefited by the economics over the last several years. we've had two wars and big tax cut that is affected mostly the rich, we've had the recklessness of wall street, and now are we prepared to say we're going to take it out of the hides of senior citizens whose average income in our cun is the $18,000 a year? i don't think that is right. >> if you were to look at the architecture of the way they drafted this, and look at the philosophy they used, which is more or less tax cuts,
eliminating the mortgage deductions, stepping away from social security for the moment. how would you author the philosophical architecture of a conversation we have to have is that we spend a lot more money than we are generating, and we have a lot of liabilities, whether it's inside the housing market, social security, medicare, that have to be addressed, how would you adjust this philosophically? >> i think this proposal of significantly lowering the tax rate, the top tax rate going down to 23%, because we're going to eliminate all of the tax expenditures, things like the mortgage interest rate tax break. does anybody think that's really going to happen? i mean, it -- what one of the commission members said today, what he feared was, that we would -- yes, we would lower those tax rates, particularly for the high end and the
corporate tax, and then we still wouldn't be able to eliminate all of those tax breaks. because there is a powerful lobbying group behind each one. now, i'm not saying -- >> let's -- that's why these things are legislated as a package. when pieces of the package fall out, people say i'm not voting for it. we know it's very unlikely to come to a vote in either body. the thing that i think is important about those tax rates, and really quite stunning to look at, is how low you could actually get tax rates still have a progressive tax system when you eliminate the deductions, it is a fascinating thought exercise to look at. and my bet is, it's not going to amount to anything more than that. let me ask you, you're a member of this commission. and they need 14 votes. >> yes. >> they have 18 members. you're out, they're not going to get your vote for what they're proposing, right? >> no, but i'll tell you what, if this proposal were put to a vote today, i don't think it would get any votes. >> all right. and between now and december 1st.
there's going to be compromise made, something else that is the final vehicle that you vote on. do you think they're going to be able to come up with anything that you can vote on that will actually do this job within a five-year window? i think that's your dilemma. them forcing you to vote on something that does it within five years inevitably creates something so draconian that it does look something like this. >> i think it's hard to come up with a comprehensive package, but what i think the commission could do is a proposal that heads us in the right direction, that makes the cuts that are consistent with our philosophy of a country of helping people in the middle as opposed to people at the top, the middle class people. so i think we can do something that is a good beginning, that sets us in the right direction. whether or not we can do it all by 2015, i don't know. i don't think so. >> jan schakowsky, member of the presidential debt commission trying to do the impossible.
and dillon radhigan staying up late for us tonight. the host of "the dillon radhigan show." thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. the decision points book tour continues. americans aren't buying it. the spin or the book. up next, i'll talk with lawrence wilkerson about how president bush is trying to rewrite history about the war on terror. and the fight on capitol hill for who will lead the democrats in the house as nancy pelosi prepares to remain the top democrat. is the party making a big mistake by not bringing in any fresh faces in the leadership? nd to change the world. i said "sure." "well, let's grow some algae." and that's what started it. exxonmobil and synthetic genomics have built a new facility to identify the most productive strains of algae. algae are amazing little critters. they secrete oil, which we could turn into biofuels. they also absorb co2. we're hoping to supplement the fuels
coming up, we never found wmd in iraq, and we've never found a way to pay for the war. president bush says he'd still make the same decision to take out saddam. lawrence wilkerson joins me. and the presidential memoir sales, how did the bush book do in its first day on the market? and later, why is sarah palin
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george w. bush says that the world won't figure out if he was a successful president until he's dead. he makes his best case in his memoir decision points, which sold 220,000 copies on its first day of its relief. it's a little less than half of what clinton's memoirs sold on its opening day. the disappointing sales may be
disappointment in president bush. >> any time you're in power and there's a problem, you're going to get blamed, and i fully understand that. and i walk people through the reason why i use taxpayer's money to bail out wall street. and the lesson there is, is that i had to set aside an ideology, which is if you make a bad mistake you pay for it, in the marketplace. in this -- the hardest thing for me was not whether or not blame was assigned, the hardest thing for me was to explain to hardworking americans why we were using their taxpayer's money to prop up those who they were blaming for the crisis. >> conservative commentator michelle malkum responded writing -- >> reporter: the problem, of course, is that bush nostalgia is indelibly marred by his disastrous domestic policy
legacy big government big spending and betrayal of core fiscal policy. his policy doesn't inspire many passionate defenders these days either. joining me now is lawrence wilkerson, who was chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell during the bush administration. you were in the bush administration, in meetings with the president. as you read this book, do you get the feeling, yeah, that's the way it was? >> i don't at all. particularly in the area you were just referring to, foreign policy. i think the errors are manifest. there are so many areas, it would take a long time to run through them.
on the other hand, there were accounts that were managed very well, those are the accounts that were managed by colin powell, including aids funding, the millennium challenge and so forth. the man who triumphed if those first years of the administration was dick cheney. george bush i would explain as a bystander almost, and certainly not a decision maker. >> let's listen to what he told matt lauer about the advice he got from the vice president. >> in a conversation, i think over lunch you had with dick cheney in the period of buildup to the war in iraq, he said to you, are you going to take care of this guy or not? >> yeah. >> first of all, i was surprised by the tone that the vice president would use with you.
was it surprising to you? >> no, it's -- i mean, we have a very frank relationship. and he would give me his unvarnished advice. was dick cheney pushing you to go to war with iraq? >> it didn't mooter whether he was or not. i'm the guy who makes the decisions as to when we move. i was trying to give diplomacy a chance to work. >> colonel, i just heard him say dick cheney pushed him to go to war in iraq, didn't i? >> i think he did. i would sort of use colin powell's metaphor with me about that incident and others too. he said dick cheney knew exactly how to rub the president to get his cowboys instincts to come out and his 45 to be unleashed. i think that's what dick cheney did. and the president's protests to the contrary, notwithstanding. dick cheney was more successful than not. >> are you going to take care of this guy or not? that's the language you're talking about. >> exactly. >> he also talked about the missing weapons of mass destruction. >> your words, no one was more
sickened or angry than i was, when we didn't finds weapons of mass destruction. you still have a sickening feeling when you think about it? >> i do. i do. >> was there ever any consideration of apologizing to the american people? >> i mean, apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision. and i don't believe it was the wrong decision. >> if you knew then what you know now -- >> that's right. >> you would still go to war in iraq? >> i first of all, didn't have that luxury. you just don't have the luxury when you're president. i will say definitely the world is better off without saddam hussein in power. >> currently he's never going to answer that question directly. when it gets put to him, he starts talking about something else, which is the -- what do we do with saddam. that wasn't the case, the case of going to iraq was weapons of mass destruction. it's a simple question, would you have done it if you knew the weapons of mass destruction
weren't there. there's a yes or no he can deliver to that question? >> i think there is. it's another proof for me that this is a man who doesn't know how to do critical self-analysis, even if he does, he doesn't know how to deal with it after he's done it. i also think i have two possibilities there in my own conclusion. one is,that they did indeed know what they were doing with the intelligence, and they knew that they were lying about it. or that they really believed the intelligence and since it didn't happen, they don't have anyway to tell the american people that that was a mistake, and that was the problem. i think 300,000 or so dead iraqis, about 3 million in the diaspra, dead coalition members, 30,000 plus casualties amongst the coalition members and so forth. a wonderful sentence in "our kind of trader" it says the
sacrifice of brave men does not justify the pursuit of an unjust cause. we sacrificed a lot of brave men in an unjust cause. saying the world is better off without saddam is not a cure-all for that. saddam was contained. saddam was trapped. he couldn't do anything that could have brought that kind of damage on people anyway. so we created the situation where all these things happened. and no apology, no even apparently self-analysis as to what went wrong there. >> retired colonel lawrence wilkerson currently of the state department. thank you for your insight tonight. >> thanks for having me. will democrats find a way to keep steny hoyer and jim cleburne in the leadership? and let them eat cookies. sarah palin criticizes pennsylvania for trying to crackdown on sweets in school. ahead on the last word, as nancy pelosi decides to hold on to the leadership of house democrats, there are reports that younger democrats aren't
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ahead on the last word, as nancy pelosi decides to hold on to the leadership of house democrats, there are reports that younger democrats aren't happy that the old guard isn't letting any new faces into the mix. coming up, i'll talk with barbara lee and george miller. and it's destined to be the bush versus gore of 2010. in alaska, it's day one of counting the write-in votes for the election to senate.
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in the spotlight tonight, in the house, more and more democrats are starting to line up behind their choice for minority whip. maryland's steny hoyer or jim clyburn. hoyer is collecting strong support from the party's liberal wing. he's also gotten endorsement from seven committee chairman. the number of public endorsements for clyburn are fewer, so far, but he's getting strong support from members of the congressional black caucus. all the while there are quiet murmurs on the hill that younger democrats are desperate to sea some of their own slide into those key leadership roles and literally change the face of the
democratic party. in our spotlight tonight, democratic congresswoman barbara lee and democratic congressman john miller. why are democrats so resistant to changing their leadership after being led to such a disastrous loss in last week's election. >> i think they rejected the fact that the loss came about as a result of the horrible economy, the wall street financial scandals, unemployment rate that continues to be 9.5%, was 10% for much of the year. and the economic insecurity of families. but remember, it was this democratic leadership, this democratic caucus, and the president of the united states that pushed through the jobs bills that we did get passed. the tax cuts for small businesses to help create jobs. but the republican party made a strategic decision. mitch mcconnell laid it out when he said he was investing in the failure of this president.
and when they decided they would not help us on any of these issues. they chose their party and their party strategy over the well being of the american economy over the well being of our country. and they -- out of the 16 tax cuts that we did for small businesses. they made a decision, they would vote against 15 of those. they delayed every jobs bill in the senate until the very end. they reduced them to nothing, so they were ineffective. then they wanted to say it's because of nancy pelosi. the democrats know what they're doing. they're attacking the most effective leader we've had in the house of representatives in decade after decade after decade, okay? so they're deciding that they're going to decide who's our quarterback. this is taking eli manning off the field because the jets fans don't like him. >> there is a difference between taking the football player off the field because the orphans are booing that football player. as you know, in politics, the fans decide the outcome of the
game. they get to vote. it ain't like football. and on nancy pelosi, the fans have spoken. our latest polls show she has a 24% overall approval rating. a 50% disapproval rating overall. and the numbers are much worse with independents. with possible swing voters. just an 8% approval rating among independences. 60%, 61% negative rating. now, this is not of her making, this is as a result of years of demonization. she has been the target of demonization with the republicans. just as a practical matter, if you love nancy pelosi, if you think she was the greatest leader -- legislatively the house has ever had. isn't it also possible to think there should be a new face that starts off without those negative poll numbers to lead the democrats in the house?
>> this has been one of the most effective congresss in history under speaker pelosi's leadership. we're faced with many, many challenges moving forward. the republicans have said that they want to privatize social security. they want to cut medicare. they want to raise the age of retirement. we need someone who knows how to meet these challenges and lead our caucus in a unified way to make sure that our senior citizens are secure. when you look at what happened under the bush administration, the bush administration wanted to put social security at the whim of wall street. our seniors don't deserve that. speaker pelosi helped zee feet that initiative. i think now is the time to have strong leadership. we need to have someone who can unify the caucus, and we need to have someone who cannot only work in a bipartisan way, and bring us together to ensure we create jobs and create some
economic security for all americans, but someone who knows that when we have to fight and when we have to make sure that we do not privatize social security and when we have to protect our seniors, we have someone who is there on behalf of our senior citizens. nancy pelosi has a proven record for that. i think she's going to be another effective leader in the next congress. >> i'm going to ask this one more time, because clearly neither one of you want to take on this issue. i understand it. the speaker is the speaker, now she's going to be the majority leader. you can't be caught out in public saying anything that's out of tune with what the message is. >> that's not the issue. >> you're doing an excellent job on the legislative accomplishments of speaker. there is no dispute about that, no one is disputing that. republicans don't dispute that, okay? that isn't in dispute. the question is, and i'm going to put it to you this way. does it matter at all? does it in anyway matter what the approval polling rating --
poll rating numbers are about the democratic leader in the house of representatives? >> well, i don't know. i don't know that issue. you know, they have been -- they spent $65 million demonizer in a national campaign. but the fact of the matter is, all the time that that has been going on. she's effectively lead the democratic caucus. the legislative program for the president of the united states. and again to decide that somehow this entire election result falls on nancy pelosi -- >> no, can we just -- we can move on. no one is saying is that the entire election results turns on this. >> the democratic caucus -- >> let me make it clear, everyone agrees -- please, come on, could we just break the spin for a second. >> no, it's not a situation of spin. i'm telling you the colleagues we're talking to, the people who are calling the speaker, you've had people, as long as i've been in the congress.
which is about the same time you were there, people have always decided they would distance themselves from the leadership, it could be jim wright. >> a legislative agenda means that we are working on public policy. >> we get that. i'm asking you -- >> for the american people. >> can i ask you a tactical question? do you entertain tactical questions? we recognize that you guys were running against the worst economic conditions that any congress has ever run against to try to get re-elected. we recognize that it was going to be very unlikely under any circumstances with, any speaker with any leader for you guys to have a more successful night than you actually did. i want to grant all those points. i want to ask you this marginal technical question. forget it as a question, i know we're not going to get anywhere with it. the point i was trying to raise is, might there be a very slight marginal technical advantage in
having a new face in the leadership as you did in 1994 when you lost the house that last time? especially because tom foley lost his seat in the process. >> a technical -- >> it's not a crazy idea. >> a technical and a tactical advantage would be to have someone who knows how to unify the democrats around an agenda. around job creation efforts, around small business tax credits, about making sure that we move forward to economic security. >> we got it. the republicans have broken the seniority system in the house, in terms of chairmanships in the past. you people are locked into a seniority system that guarantees you the oldest members end up being the chairman of these committees. is there any possibility that you might in anyway tamper with the seniority system in the committee leadership? >> we've broken it in the past caucuses, and i assume there will be challenges to members in this caucus.
>> okay. congressman lee and congressman miller, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you. alaska's joe miller is making a legal argument against write-in ballots that earns him a rewrite. sarah palin has found a new enemy. a school lunch menu in pennsylvania. yeah, i know. she's got a lot of time on her hands. this lighting is awful. woohoo! it's not the lighting, girlfriend. mnh-mnh. oh gosh! woo! it's this drab one-tone hair color, ick. yeah. let's szush it up. [ gigi ] try nice 'n easy with colorblend technology. in one simple step, get a blend of tones and highlights. so even in this lovely light, nice 'n easy comes to life with dimension. instead of drabulous... i love it! shhhhh. [ gigi ] ...you look fabulous with tones and highlights. nice 'n easy. your right color. with tones and highlights. host: could switching to geico realis a bird in the handre on worth 2 in the bush?
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sarah palin says only parents should decide what to feed their kids. to prove her point she decides what to feed pennsylvania's kids. the wednesday edition of palin's factually inaccurate campaign to nowhere. and also from alaska, the vote count in the senate race continues. and the tea party candidate is worried about spelling. [ william ] three years ago, i started my first real job as a part time sales associate with walmart. when william came in i knew he had everything he needed to be a leader in this company. [ william ] after a couple of months,
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time for tonight's rewrite. a group of the unluckiest people in american politics have the task of counting tens of thousands of write-in ballots. the process which started earlier today has an inevitable feeling of bush versus gore deja vu. the associated press tells us that in an obscure building in the outskirts of juneau there are 15 tables where 92,000 write-in ballots are read by hundred. it's worked through one precinct at a time.
the campaigns have one observer each at every table. room to watch the count unfold. alaska's division of elections director is on hand to settle disputes in consultation with legal council for the state. the ballots were brought on site by a security detail and will remain at the counting site. according to a spokeswoman, the ballot counters are longstanding trained election workers from a variety of political backgrounds, republican, democrat, undeclared and nonpartisan. and here we go again. but instead of florida's hanging chads, the 2010 version of this political drama is basically a spelling test for voters
m-e-r-k-o-w-s-k-y. no, no, no, wait m-u-r-k-o-w-s-k-y. yeah. that's it. did i get it right? okay. what is it? murkowski. the good news for alaskan voters who may have trouble spelling murkowski's name is, they'll use discretion in determining voter intent on ballots in cases where senator murkowski's name is misspelled. the ballot count is being challenged on two fronts by joe miller's campaign. every single ballot counted for murkowski is being automatically
challenged at the table by miller's campaign. and in a lawsuit miller's legal team is seeking to keep election officials from counting or otherwise accepting as valid any write-in ballots in which the name of the candidate is spelled incorrectly. or on which the name of the candy dade is not written as it appears on the write-in declaration of candidacy. part of their argument, cannot divine the intent of the voter. miller's legal team cites bush versus gore. but things start to get really interesting when you start to look at the language of the lawsuits' central argument. it says that many of the people who cast write-in ballots where murkowski's name is spelled, did so deliberately to protest murkowski's write-in candidacy.
so miller is saying he can divine the voter's intent but no one else can do it. nick tried to rewrite what miller's lawsuit should say? i had to explain to him that utterly bogus lawsuits always say ridiculously contradictory things. we're leaving joe miller's pleadings as is in the hope that the alaskan judge will see the case for what it really is. this just in, a federal judge denied joe miller's request to immediately stop the write-in ballots from being counted. and after the first 19,000 write-in votes were counted. 89% were properly marked and correctly spelled, m-u-r-k-o-w-s-k-i.
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the most recent losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president spoke at plumstead christian school last night. sarah palin surprised the students with cookies. not just any cookies, cookies with a political message. >> i had to kind of shake it up a little bit. i heard there's a debate going on in pennsylvania over whether public schools are going to ban sweets, cakes, cookies, that type of thing. so i had to bring to these
private school students to show them how privileged they are, i brought dozens and dozens of cookies to these students. i had to shake it up for you guys, especially the press, okay? i wanted these kids to bring home the idea to their parents for discussion, who should be making the decisions what you eat and school choice. should it be government or the parents? it should be the parents. >> needless to say by now, it's not actually a ban the board of education is considering. a local paper corrected the state board education has been weighing new school nutrition guidelines for nearly six months. that encourage healthier choices, but they wouldn't create any no cookie mandates. still, on twitter, palin deemed it nanny state run amok. joining me now from pennsylvania, that state's
governor ed rendell. ed, thank you very much for joining me tonight. you know, i don't really have any questions for you. this is just a loyalty test, to see how loyal you are to the show, if you would come on on this subject. but seriously, we have an obesity epidemic among our youth now, our school population. where would we be? where would that go if there were no nutritional standards applied in public schools? >> it would spiral a much more dramatic situation. what's really appalling here is governor palin using this to continue this anti-government rhetoric. look, government has its place, and i think we all have to realize that. part of its place is to give us guidelines. by the way, they haven't even voted to adopt these
regulations. these were guidelines that the first thing they wanted to do was stop every week having a birthday party that disrupted class instructional time, to put all the birthday parties to a once a month section. many schools have been trying to do that on their own. and number two, to encourage healthy food guidelines, to encourage there be alternatives to sweets at birthday parties but no mandates whatsoever. government has to be in the position of letting local school districts, parents, kids, et cetera, know the dangers of obesity and the foods that produce obesity. >> government builds the schools, government hires the teachers. government supplies the desks. government does everything inside the public school building. how can government not be in control of the menu? what's diabolical about government being in control of the school lunch menu? >> nothing at all. and this idea that we're stopping parents from sending in sweets for their kid's birthday
party. there's nothing to stop them. if a parent wants to do that, they can do it. we're trying to encourage parents to limit it to one sweet and have some good alternative, nutritious things like apples, oranges, pears. it's encouragement, educational. trying to inform parents how to make better nutritional choices for their kids. this government bashing has to stop. >> isn't it a specific choice to choose things like this that seem small in order for her audience to make government seem unreasonable and seem petty, and seem to be invading the most microscopic decisions people want to make? >> right, it just feeds the rhetoric that all government is bad. and all government isn't bad. just earlier tonight i was honored by an autism group for what pennsylvania has done for autistic kids and adults. if it wasn't for the government, it just wasn't going to happen.